Learning for Sustainability

Award winners, highly commended and finalist entries for the Words for the World competition held by SCILT in session 2022-23.

Words for the World 2023 Awards

Words for the World opening slide imageSCILT’s Words for the World competition was inspired by a quote from the inspirational young Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, who said ‘We must believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the world.’

The competition first ran just before the COP26 event took place in Scotland in November 2021 and ran for the second time in 2023. The 2023 final took place on 25 April to tie in with Earth Day, which is on 22 April each year.

The aim of the competition is for young learners, from P1 through to S6, to think and write in a language other than English about the important global issues that affect and matter to us here in Scotland right now.

Learning for Sustainability is an entitlement for all learners within Curriculum for Excellence and it is embedded within the General Teaching Council of Scotland Professional Standards for practitioners. Words for the World provides a tangible way for schools to deliver this key priority area within the contexts of literacy and languages.

The competition also allows learners to foster their development as global citizens, as they engage with current issues and express their views using different languages, and encourages them to think about their role in the world and the impact that their words can have.

This year we received entries in 20 different languages in total, from Gaelic to Greek, French to Filipino, Polish to Pashto and many more! This is a beautiful reflection of the rich diversity of Scotland’s languages landscape.

We received over 100 separate entries, some from individuals, some from groups and some from whole classes, from all across the country and from both state and independent schools. Learners used and developed a number of skills in their entries, including teamwork, literacy, planning, creativity and digital skills, to name a few. Issues covered were around climate change and concern for the future of our planet, racism, the need for peace and very personal messages of hope for countries around the world which have a special place in learners’ hearts. Many powerful messages were shared.

A judging panel of experts in language and in global issues decided on the winners in each of the four categories: P1-4, P5-7, S1-3 and S4-6. Entries were all of a very high standard and our judges reported that their task was not an easy one! The shortlisted entrants, along with their parents/carers and teachers, were invited to an online awards event on 25 April 2023, where the winners were announced. Congratulations to all the winners, and to everyone who took part!

At the awards event we had the opportunity to see all of the wonderful shortlisted entries and to hear from the judging panel. We were also delighted to receive an inspiring personal video message from Len Pennie, well-known Scottish poet and Scots language and mental health advocate, which spoke of the huge difference that all of our words can make.

In their fantastic entries, our young people clearly demonstrated that they have the ideas, the creativity and the passion to change the world with their words. The future of our world is a lot brighter with all of them in it and we are delighted that this competition has once again given us the opportunity to see that in action.

Schools who want to introduce Learning for Sustainability in the languages class may like to visit our toolkit for ideas.

Awards Event Keynote - Len Pennie

Scots poet, writer, influencer and language graduate Len Pennie introduces the Words for the World 2022-23 competition in the following video.

All our winner, highly commended and other finalist entries can be viewed by clicking through the presentation below.

The event concluded with an announcement of the prizes the finalists would be awarded.

SCILT awarded each Winner a certificate along with a £15 book token.

Highly commended entrants received a certificate and £10 book token.

Schools were issued with a certificate of participation they could present to everyone who took part in the competition.

We received some lovely feedback about the competition and event, including several posts on Twitter which you can view on our Wakelet.

Thank you, what a great opportunity for students across Scotland to get creative with their languages about world issues and challenges that matter to them. (Teacher)
I would like to say thank you to everyone who believed in me and encouraged me to take part, and a big thank you to my teacher who helped me realise how lucky and special I was to be able to speak more than one language. (Primary pupil)
University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages